Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have taken a giant step towards their incredible takeover of non-league football team Wrexham AFC after fans unanimously voted in favour of the sale.
Reynolds and McElhenney made their pitch to more than 2,000 voters from the Wrexham Supporters’ Trust, who have owned the fifth division team since 2011, on a Zoom call last week and declared today that they are now owners.
They required 75 per cent of the vote and the Supporters’ Trust announced on Monday that the Hollywood stars had earned a huge 98.4 per cent of the vote, giving them the green light to finalise their takeover.
Rob McElhenney (left) and Ryan Reynolds (right, with wife Blake Lively) have taken a major step forward in their bid to buy non-league football team Wrexham AFC after a fan vote
Reynolds (bottom) and McElhenney (top right) addressed Wrexham AFC supporters for the first time as the Hollywood actors presented their vision to buy the non-league team
The actors want to visit Wrexham ‘as much as possible’ and ‘drink in local pubs’ with the fans
A statement from the Supporters’ Trust read: ‘We are now in a position to confirm the result of the vote, which has been independently verified by Mi-Voice, the company assisting the Trust in the process. As can be seen in full detail below, members have voted FOR all three resolutions.
‘As such – subject to final agreement, league and FA confirmation – the RR McReynolds Company, LLC will take 100 per cent control of Wrexham Football Club Limited from the WST.
‘Both parties will now proceed with finalising the details of the takeover, and we will update Wrexham supporters as soon as we can.
‘The Wrexham Supporters Trust Board would like to thank Mr Rob McElhenney and Mr Ryan Reynolds, and their advisors Inner Circle Sports and Walker Morris, for their professional and considered approach and for the time they have already put into the process.’
There was a 91.5 per cent voter turnout and while there were five ballots reported to have been spoiled, supporters unanimously backed the pair to purchase the club.
Members voted on three resolutions for the sale with results showing 1,801 votes in favour, 29 against and 11 abstained.
Following the announcement, Reynolds tweeted an image of the Wrexham crest to his 16.8m Twitter followers with the caption: ‘Wrexham is the name’.
Both Reynolds and McElhenney marked the news by appearing in a video which appeared to show them promoting club sponsor Ifor Williams before they go on to address the news of their takeover.
‘We just became owners of Wrexham Association Football Club,’ declared McElhenney. ‘To the Wrexham Supporters’ Trust I say thank you, for your faith and trust in us.’
‘We are humbled and we are already getting to work,’ said Reynolds. ‘Oh s***, it’s really happening!’
Acquiring the club for virtually nothing, Reynolds and McElhenney have revealed their plan to make an initial cash investment of £2million to begin their transformation of a side they see as a ‘sleeping giant’.
Reynolds and McElhenney outlined their bold vision as part of their bid on the Zoom call on November 8 before they hosted a Q&A session in which they confirmed Sportsmail’s story from September over their plan to make a Netflix-style documentary series on their ownership. The meeting was recorded as a first nod to what will make the final cut.
‘Sports is storytelling and is so woven into the fabric of the sport,’ Reynolds explained. ‘The Wrexham community is incredibly dynamic and supportive.’
McElhenney added: ‘Why would we not document this? Why would we not think about Wrexham the way Manchester United thinks about Manchester United?
BREAKDOWN OF FAN VOTE
That the Rules be amended by adding a new Rule 4.7 as follows: “promoting and supporting the long term future of the Club which shall include a transaction to sell the entire issued share capital of the Club to new owners resulting in the Society ceasing to own or operate the Club provided that the members have approved the sale by extraordinary resolution (a “Members Approved Sale”), and in the event of a Members Approved Sale, the object at this Rule 4.7 shall take precedence and prevail over the objects at Rules 4.1 to 4.6 so that a Members Approved Sale shall be permitted by the Society’s objects and be in accordance with the Rules notwithstanding any inconsistency or conflict with the objects at Rules 4.1 to 4.6”;
98.6% voted in favour, Resolution passed
That the Proposed Transaction is hereby irrevocably and unconditionally approved, and that this approval of the Proposed Transaction shall constitute a Members Approved Sale pursuant to Rule 4.7 (subject to the passing of Resolution 1 in the Postal Ballot and the amended Rules taking effect upon being registered);
98.4% voted in favour, Resolution passed
That the board of directors of the Society is hereby authorised to conclude the Proposed Transaction on the basis that it is a Members Approved Sale (subject to the passing of Resolution 2 in the Postal Ballot) and does not require any further approval or consent of the Members, and that the Society Board are hereby authorised to enter into the sale documentation as required (at the discretion of the board of directors and including but not limited to a share purchase agreement to sell the shares of the Club to the buyer) on behalf of the Society and to carry out all such acts as necessary in connection with implementing the Proposed Transaction.
98.4% voted in favour, Resolution passed
McElhenney has been keeping up to date with Wrexham matches by watching on movie sets
Wrexham have been in non-league since 2008 but the actors detailed their bold proposal to make the Welsh side the ‘best team in the United Kingdom’ if they are successful taking over
‘I’ve watched all the football documentaries and been inspired by them.’
As part of an extensive mission statement released following the Zoom call, the Hollywood pair outlined their goal, their four key principles and announced a number of ‘hard promises’ to fans.
They have vowed to ‘build a sustainable model which will attract the best players and best staff to the Racecourse Ground’ in a bid to lift Wrexham out of non-league, where they have resided since relegation from the Football League in 2008.
As part of their £2m investment, Reynolds and McElhenney are keen to ‘explore the renovation of the Racecourse Ground and improve the venue for the club’ with a plan to host international games and music concerts as an additional revenue stream.
As well as making the club more professional by appointing a high quality Chief Executive Officer, the actors are determined to invest in a permanent training facility ‘that is worthy of an EFL club,’ they said.
‘We are taking this venture very seriously,’ Reynolds said.
‘Why Wrexham? We believe your club is a sleeping giant, incredible story, stadium and fans. The sky is the limit. We want Wrexham to be a global force.’
Reynolds, who has varied business interests, replied to a 2012 tweet that said: ‘You never know when Ryan Reynolds is going to turn up in Wrexham.’ The Canadian-born actor told his 16.5million Twitter followers: ‘Yep, you never know.’
‘We believe the club should be back playing league football as fast as we can do it,’ McElhenney added.
‘We will invest as much as we can financially and emotionally. I’m competitive and I want to win.’
The town has been a hub of activity since voting opened on November 9 and support for the actors swelled even more after local pubs received a special delivery during the week.
Reynolds sent crates of gin to pubs in Wrexham in preparation for the potential takeover and it proved a hit with supporters.
Deadpool actor Reynolds acquired a stake in alcohol brand Aviation Gin in 2018 and decided to send several bottles to pubs in the Welsh town after confirming he and McElhenney wanted to ‘have a drink’ with fans at games were they successful in buying the team.
One of the pubs to receive a delivery was The Fat Boar, who shared pictures of the gin and a note they were sent by Reynolds.
The note read: ‘To The Fat Boar: here’s a bouquet of rose coloured glasses. See ya soon – Ryan Reynolds.’
Prospective Wrexham owner Reynolds sent crates of Aviation Gin to pubs in the Welsh town
The Fat Boar were one of the pubs that received a special delivery from the Canadian actor
The actor also enclosed a personalised note to the pubs that were delivered the alcohol
The Turf, which is located next to Wrexham’s Racecourse stadium, also received 18 bottles of the gin from Reynolds.
The identity of Reynolds and McElhenney became public knowledge after a Special General Meeting for Supporters’ Trust members in September saw a unanimous 97.5 per cent (1,223 members) vote in favour of allowing the Trust to talk with the potential investors.
While neither man appears to have any direct link to the town, it is believed the history behind the former coal mining hub proved attractive.
Wrexham AFC is Wales’ oldest football club and stands as the third oldest professional side in the world, with their first game dating back to 1864.
They fell out of the football league in 2008 and have remained a non-league club since then and became fan-owned in 2011.
Managed by Dean Keates, the club currently sit 14th after the opening six games with two wins, three defeats and a draw.
Both Reynolds and McElhenney have spent recent weeks responding to the complete disbelief online following the announcement from the club of their interest.
Wrexham, whose Racecourse Ground is pictured on September 17, are the oldest football club in Wales and the third oldest football club in the world having been founded in 1864
Dean Keates’ side have played six games so far this season but now look ahead to a takeover
Deadpool actor Reynolds retweeted an eight year old tweet that coincidentally mentioned about him turning up in the Welsh town.
He comically quoted: ‘Yep, you never know’ and followed that up with ‘I’ve waited eight years to respond to this tweet’.
Meanwhile, McElhenney, known for hit TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, has shown himself watching the matches this season on live streams, to mixed success with two defeats and a draw in the last three.
The Mystic Quest: Raven’s Banquet actor has been photographed on set watching live streams of matches against Boreham Wood – which they won 2-1 – and Solihull Moors – a 1-0 defeat at Damson Park.
McElhenney also endeared himself to supporters by wearing a retro ‘Wrexham Lager’ home shirt which the team wore in the 2001-02 season under manager Denis Smith.
Reynolds is best known for playing the title character in the Deadpool super hero films, while McElhenney’s most famous role is Ronald ‘Mac’ McDonald in the comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
MISSION STATEMENT IN FULL
To the supporters, staff, players, friends and family of Wrexham AFC:
We’re two people who’ve made a career of never taking ourselves too seriously. However, we realise taking stewardship of this great and storied club is an incredibly serious matter and something we don’t take lightly. With that in mind, we wanted to take you through our Goal, Principles and Promises.
Our goal is to grow the team, return it to the EFL in front of increased attendances at an improved stadium while making a positive difference to the wider community in Wrexham.
If permitted, we’d chase that goal guided by four essential principles.
1. To protect the heritage that has made Wrexham AFC and the Racecourse Ground such a special place to watch football for the last 156 years.
2. To reinforce the values, traditions and legacy of this community. We understand and respect the intense loyalty and love for this club and how it’s woven into the fabric of the town and its supporters.
3. To use our resources to grow the exposure of the club. Of course, this would be in concert with protecting the heart and spirit of a community-led historical icon. But why can’t the third oldest club in the world have a global appeal?
4. To reward the faith of the supporters who have stood by Wrexham AFC through its history by putting everything we have towards what all fans want most for their club, and that is to…
WIN, WIN, WIN.
Everything we do will be informed by these four principles and never one without the other. We want to be part of Wrexham’s story, not drag the club into ours.
Provide comprehensive financial support for the manager and his coaching team. Build a sustainable model which will attract the best players and best staff to the Racecourse Ground.
Always beat Chester.*
Explore the renovation of the Racecourse Ground and improve the venue for the club, for International matches and perhaps, the occasional Tom Jones gig.
Invest in a permanent training facility that is worthy of an EFL club.
Guarantee the club cannot be relocated, renamed or rebranded. Appropriate and respectful observance of the Gresford Colliery Disaster will remain sacrosanct.
Recognising the role fans and the WST have played in stewarding the club through extremely difficult times, we will create an honorary board that includes fans, representatives of the WST and WAFC alongside our own advisors.
Ensure the continued presence of Dixie McNeil as the club’s honorary President, subject to his desire.
Always beat Chester.*
Expand club staff to take advantage of increased interest in Wrexham, both locally and internationally.
Recognise and reinforce Wrexham AFC’s role as a leading force for community good in the town. Work with the Club’s Disability Liaison Officer, Kerry Evans to retain and enhance Wrexham’s reputation as an inclusive and forward-thinking club, alongside other important local groups such as the Racecourse Community Foundation, food banks and schools.
Commit to a more ecologically-sustainable version of the club and stadium.
Commit to transparent decision making with regular and open communication.
Ensure that when the day comes that we leave the Club, it will be in a better position than it is today.
ALWAYS BEAT CHESTER.*
Under any other circumstance, we’d be in Wrexham right now, touring the Racecourse Ground, having a pint with supporters in person. But 2020 has other plans for us all. We hope you’ll put your trust in us, because we’ll work every day, for as long as you’ll have us, to ensure the world knows that Wrexham is the name.
*If we ever play Chester again.
Rob and Ryan